Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Deadly Game of Fear

"No one ever told her this basic fact: not everyone got to be loved."
--Lauren Oliver, Panic

Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 416
Publication Date: March 4th, 2014
Source: eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss--Thank you!
Find on Goodreads
Previous Books in Series: Standalone
Goodreads Description

 Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

The Belle
Heather. I really liked Heather and her thoughts and feelings. She is a little lost and stuck in a horrible home situation. She loves her sister something fierce and will do whatever it takes to protect and provide for her. I loved this about her. I think her narration was raw and real and she was my favorite part of the story. She is a girl who desperately wants to be loved and you cannot fault her for that. I loved her.

The Game. I love the idea of Panic. As dangerous and crazy as it is, you gotta give these kids props for setting it up and giving out all that money. It is nowhere near sane or normal behavior but I loved it. It is dark, brutal, cruel, and dangerous and the history of this game and what has happened is crazy! But oh so tantalizing to read about.

The Danger. I think there is a lack in YA books of a story like this. It is ridiculously dark and deals with the ugly side of small towns, idle time, and no money. The deaths that have occurred because of this game are brutal and cruel but it brought to much realness to the story. While I do not know if kids could actually pull this game off in real life, it made for a really interesting story.

The Beast
The Characters. Besides Heather, I didn't like any of the other characters. Natalie was HORRIBLE. She is supposed to be the lifelong best friend? She sucked so hard I couldn't comprehend how any of these other characters found her to be endearing or even why they wanted to be friends with her. She is shady and stupid as all hell. Selfish. I couldn't take her.

The Emotions. The characters and their emotions are what killed this book for me. They all started out so well. Especially Dodge. Oh Dodge, you had so much potential. I really liked him at first but his who infatuation with a certain character made no sense. The first time he mentions her he talks about how he hates her and she didn't know his name...then she shows him attention only because she needs to manipulate him and then he's obsessed with her the entire book. WHAT?! I know boys, especially adolescent ones. are stupid. But I also know they don't take rejection well and how this girl treats him is ridiculous. Have a little self-respect, bro. This entire element and how it plays out killed the book for me. This is just one of many character decisions and emotions that made no sense to me. They say one thing, do another, and are completely inconsistent. Yes, I am aware they are teenagers but it just felt really unauthentic to me.

The Ending. do I say this? The book is dripping in death, injuries, fear, and loneliness...and the ending just reflects too much of the opposite of the entire feel of the book for me. I get striving for better and having hope as a theme of a book but it just came so far out of left field for me to believe it. It felt contrived and too cookie-cutter.

Should You RSVP To This Ball?
Meh. I mean, this book had qualities I really liked but I think I liked the idea of this book more than I liked the actual book. While it did have a plot I wanted to know what happens, it was the characters and the ending that made it not good for me. Which is SUCH a surprise because Lauren Oliver is amazing at characterization and I just couldn't feel it with this one. Very disappointing. 


  1. I agree, it was hard to connect to any of the characters aside from Heather, and I found myself getting annoyed with her at times. I was very disappointed, because I thought Oliver's characters in Before I Fall were amazing. I loved the game stuff though, and couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. Although when they had to break into the house I was a very annoyed and was rolling my eyes at these teenagers.

  2. Meh... I was hoping this would be better since it feels like I've been waiting forever to read it. I love your blog, btw! (New follower here!) :)

  3. Bummer! I'm reading this book next and am really hoping I like it better than you did. I'm not a fan of the cookie cutter, perfect, rainbow and unicorns endings though so...

  4. Did not like this book. Rated it a 3 but only b/c I love how Oliver writes. I was terribly disappointed with this. It was predictable and I was actually fairly bored with it. Certainly not what I was expecting. I thought this would pull me out the funk that Requiem left me in (since I thought that book was just not up to par with the other two at all) but it didn't. I hope her adult is better than this one.

  5. Okay, seeing as how you're a total Lauren Oliver lover, it says a lot to me that you're "Meh" on this one. I won't be reading it! I should probably read Requiem one of these days, huh? :)

  6. Panic, the game, is definitely a scary idea! I'm still not very sold on PANIC, especially after reading your review. I'd still like to read about the game, for sure, but I don't think PANIC will be very high on my list of books to check out. Sorry you didn't enjoy it as much as you wanted to though!


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